Trade tensions expected to come up in Trudeau-Trump meeting: Freeland
Published Sunday, October 8, 2017 11:00AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, October 8, 2017 1:50PM EDT
OTTAWA – When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sits down with U.S. President Donald Trump this week, it’s expected the ongoing Boeing dispute with Bombardier will come up, says Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
"This is a very important issue for the prime minister and I would certainly imagine that the prime minister intends to raise it," said Freeland in an interview with Evan Solomon, host of CTV’s Question Period.
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Commerce quadrupled the price of any CSeries jet by adding a nearly 80 per cent anti-dumping duty on top of the almost 220 per cent countervailing tariff imposed the week before.
Trudeau is set to meet with Trump in Washington, during a two-day trip -- overlapping with the kickoff of round four of NAFTA talks in D.C. -- followed by a visit to Mexico City where he’s set to sit down with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
Freeland expects softwood lumber and the NAFTA renegotiations will also be on the agenda when Trudeau meets with Trump.
She said Trudeau will be making a deliberate effort to highlight Canada’s role as the largest market for the U.S., to the "proudly protectionist" U.S. president directly.
"What the prime minister is also, I think, going to use this opportunity to do, is to explain really clearly to the president of the United States that Canada is not America’s problem," she said. "To remind him that Canada is actually the largest market for the U.S."
Canada's trade surplus with the United States was $2.3 billion in August, according to Statistics Canada.
"The president is a businessman, we’re going to say to him, 'We’re your biggest client.'"
Freeland not ok with tax dollars going to Boeing
While Freeland wouldn’t say whether Canada’s plan to buy Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets was off the table, she did say at this point, it's not something she’d be on-side with.
"I personally would not feel comfortable defending the spending of Canadian taxpayer dollars with a company which is attacking our aerospace sector, and Boeing knows that," said Freeland.
She said the U.S. Commerce Department’s latest move was clearly intended to take the CSeries out of the market, calling it "unjust, unjustified, excessive, and frankly absurd."
Canada has made it abundantly clear to the U.S. that if Canadian companies are finding their access to the U.S. market restricted, then "Canada is going to have to respond appropriately," said Freeland.
Canada interested in brokering peace between U.S., North Korea
With North Korean leader Kim Jong Un launching multiple nuclear and missile tests this year and engaging in an escalating war of words with Trump, Freeland said Canada is aware the security of Canadians is at issue.
She that said while she couldn’t talk much about the latest in what Canada is doing to broker peace between the two countries, she said it’s an issue that Canada is "very deeply engaged in."
"We are talking to very many of the involved parties. We have an interest and we are clear with them that we have an interest," she said.